A volunteer who brings joy and hope to lonely people at Christmas has been commended by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Hundreds of people, who would otherwise be on their own at Christmas, are given the chance to enjoy a meal with others in their community.
Charlene’s team of volunteers puts on a Christmas party at the Jubilee Centre in Paddock with a three-course meal followed by entertainment including bingo, a nativity play and carol-singing.
Everyone receives a gift from Father Christmas and Charlene has teamed up with the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Association which gives gifts of foodstuffs to everyone.
Charlene is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
In a personal letter to Charlene, Mrs May said: “When people don’t have anyone to spend the festive season with Christmas can become a lonely and isolating day.
“The Christmas meal you organise brings the community together and ensures that everyone has somewhere warm and welcoming to be at this special time of year.”
Charlene said: “I feel happy that the love poured into our celebration has been seen and recognised.
“I’d love our town to be a place where there is no loneliness or poverty, and I believe this is completely possible.
“The Christmas Day meal is just one step in that direction but I’ve seen how kindness sparks more kindness in people’s hearts and with more of that, a town can be transformed.
“The atmosphere on the day is fantastic with volunteers from all walks of life there because they have genuine love and compassion for others. At the end of the day everybody leaves feeling valued and loved.”
Charlene is the 640th winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.